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Non-Lethal Payloads for Long-range Intermediate Force Capabilities on Small Tactical Vehicles and Unmanned Systems


RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): Autonomy; Directed energy


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a suite of compact multi-weapon system payloads that deliver scalable Intermediate Force Capability (IFC) effects combined with other military effects for: applicability and effectiveness in multiple domains; synergistic value of integrating the various IFC effects with other multi-use military capabilities in a common architecture, such as Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR); secure communications; and automated fire control systems, all integrated aboard small manned and unmanned systems (UxS) platforms. Platforms include small tactical vehicles/vessels and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for both urban and austere terrains, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both counter-air and ground support operations, unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) for both the littorals and open water operations, and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

DESCRIPTION: This SBIR topic seeks to develop a suite of more compact and lightweight long range non-lethal counter-personnel and counter-materiel payloads for integration on small tactical vehicles/platforms and UxS. These IFC payloads will support a variety of stabilization operations, gray zone warfare, and regular and irregular warfare missions across the full Range of Military Operations (ROMO) [Refs 1,2]. These non-lethal (NL)/IFC payloads with enhanced system performance seek to mitigate codified joint non-lethal weapon capability-gaps. There is Service transition interest in these NL/IFC payloads in both the Maritime (U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard) and Ground (U.S. Army and USMC) domains as each Service currently desires IFCs via small/lightweight low-cost systems that can project/provide long-range IFCs. These desired effects across the full breadth of the ROMO must be accomplished with integration of these small NL/IFC payloads on tactical manned and unmanned platforms with significant reduced overall system size, weight, power consumption, thermal cooling (-55 degrees C to 125 degrees C) and lower system costs (SWAP/C2) [Ref 5]. Existing IFCs have known range and overall system size and weight limitations, i.e., the current COTS solutions only mitigate a very small portion of the codified Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) approved counter-personnel and counter-materiel capability-gap. This topic supports future long range compact and lightweight IFC to provide long range hail and warn, non-lethal counter-personnel tasks: such as deny access, move, suppress, and disable individuals and non-lethal counter-materiel tasks: such as stop/disable vehicles, vessels and aircraft. 

These new innovative compact/lightweight IFC payloads include existing, both commercial off the shelf (COTS) and developmental, NL weapon technologies/stimuli such as: (1) dazzling lasers, (2) 12 gauge/40mm non-lethal munitions (blunt impact, flashbang, riot control agents, human electro-muscular incapacitation, malodorant) with associated munition launching/targeting and fire control systems; (3) long range acoustic hailing devices, and (4) directed energy (DE) weapons such as counter-electronics (e.g., high power microwave weapons) and Active Denial Technologies (ADT). These new innovative payloads shall also include new/novel non-lethal payloads with innovative human effects and new non-lethal stimuli such as optogenics modulation of high magnetic fields and other new non-lethal stimuli that provide long range IFCs such as: (1) long range hail and warn capabilities; (2) area denial – deny access capabilities; (3) human target suppression; (4) ability to move individuals and/or groups of individuals from open and confined spaces; and (5) ability to non-lethally incapacitate/disable threat human/material targets. 

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on Phase II of this project as set forth by DCSA and MCSC in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Develop a wide variety of non-lethal stimuli for integration on a small tactical vehicle/platform and small UxSs, ensuring that each payload will have a minimal cost (of $10’s of thousands of dollars vice payloads that cost > $1M) and weigh less than 50-100 lbs and with a compact form-fit of < 3 cu ft. 

Demonstrate the feasibility/effectiveness of these novel Non-Lethal/IFC payloads with existing non-lethal weapon effectiveness models and against real counter-material targets such as against relevant threat vehicle and vessel engine targets. Collect weapon effectiveness data at range, e.g., Radio Frequency (RF) Target Susceptibility data corresponding to a Radio Frequency (RF) - High Power Microwave (HPM) payload’s waveform against a broad relevant set of targets (e.g., threat vehicle and vessel engine) and human effects and weapon effectiveness data for non-lethal counter-personnel payloads. Demonstrate individual NL/IFC payload weapon effectiveness and performance data as well as this same type of data for a “combined effect” suite of NL/IFC Payloads. Demonstrate meeting JNLWD/JIFCO/Marine Corps needs and establish that the NL/IFC payloads weapon concept can be employed throughout the Joint Services. Establish weapon concept feasibility/effectiveness by rigorous NL/IFC individual and combined effects testing against both threat personnel and counter-materiel targets. Phase I will not require human subject or animal subject testing. Provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones that addresses technical risk reduction and defines the development of a suite of compact/lightweight/low-cost Phase II non-lethal/IFC payloads integrated to small manned and unmanned systems.

PHASE II: Develop a suite of optimized (size/weight/cost) Non-Lethal/IFC payloads integrated to small manned systems and UxSs. Evaluate the prototype NL/IFC payloads via rigorous counter-personnel and counter-materiel target testing at both the contractor’s facilities and at DoD laboratories such as the Naval Surface Warfare Center - Dahlgren Division (NSWC- Dahlgren) test ranges. The JNLWD-JIFCO maintains a set of counter-personnel human effects and weapon effectiveness models and a full set of counter-personnel and counter-material test targets at various DoD labs. Deliver the suite of NL/IFC payloads for manned and unmanned systems to Government lab facilities to be independently assessed and evaluated, with minimal cost to the performer, to determine the weapon’s capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II development plan and the Marine Corps requirements for a suite of non-lethal/IFC payloads. Demonstrate system performance through the evaluation of the NL/IFC payload’s ability to meet known non-lethal counter-personnel and counter-materiel capability-gaps. Confirm and verify modeling and analytical methods developed in Phase I to include measuring the required full range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. Use evaluation results to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet the JIFCO/JNLWD/Marine Corps non-lethal/IFC payload requirements. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Joint Service use. 

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the JIFCO/JNLWD/Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Joint Service use. Develop this suite of next-generation NL/IFC payloads as integrated on GOTS manned and unmanned systems. Evaluate these weapons to determine their effectiveness in operationally relevant environments, e.g., Limited Military User Assessments (LMUAs) held by various Services. Support the JIFCO/JNLWD/Marine Corps for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Joint Service use. 

A suite of compact, lightweight, low-cost long range non-lethal intermediate force capability payloads have significant commercial applications beyond the DoD including other government agencies such as the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to include Customs and Border Protection, which have actively been researching these type of non-lethal counter-personnel and counter-materiel effects. Local civilian law enforcement has these specific type of missions to support both counter-personnel and counter-materiel missions for law enforcement as well as to mitigate terrorist acts. Currently overall system size, weight, and cost have hindered the use of these systems by these agencies. This SBIR topic specifically addresses overall system size, weight, power consumption, thermal cooling, and overall system cost all while drastically improving NL/IFC weapon performance.


  1. Leimbach, Wendell. “The Commandant’s Guidance for the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program.” Marine Corps Gazette, May 2020. /In-The-News/Acticle/2213225/the-commandants-guidance-for-the-dod-non-lethl-weapons-program/  
  2. Berger, David H. “Executive Agent’s Planning Guidance 2020 – Intermediate Force Capabilities – Bridging the Gap Between Presence and Lethality.” U.S. Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program, March 2020.  
  3. Klein, David. “Unmanned Systems & Robotics in the FY2019 Defense Budget.”  
  4. “Demand for unmanned surface vehicles driven by non-lethal assignments.” GlobalData Plc 2020, John Carpenter House, John Carpenter Street, London, EC4Y OAN, UK, 24 Feb 2020.  
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